So, you have realised that you need an extra pair of hands in your business. There are tasks you want to delegate and you think a Virtual Assistant might be the answer. You ask your network for recommendations and start to look at the websites and rates of a few Virtual Assistants. Then you find yourself thinking:
“How much an hour?! That seems expensive.”
You are still relatively new to business, that rate seems high and you don’t think you can justify spending that on your business.
You start to think it might be cheaper to actually employ someone. After all, the UK National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over) is £8.91 and the average rate for a Virtual Assistant in the UK is around £27 an hour. Yes, that is right, three times as much!!
Before you start to write the job advert just think about the other costs that come with employing someone. On top of their salary, there is holiday pay, sick pay and pension contributions. You are going to need to purchase employers’ liability insurance and set up some sort of payroll system. The employee is going to need an office space to work from and a computer, phone, etc. You’ll need to pay for utilities in the office - lighting, power, heating, phone line, broadband. You want to treat your employee well, so you will provide them with regular training and CPD. And have I mentioned the cost of placing an advert for the role, the time you will be away from your business to focus on recruiting the right person, writing a contract and reference checking?
This also assumes you find the perfect employee the first time. What if further down the line you realise that this person has a great CV and interviews well, but they aren’t quite as hard-working as they made out to be?
Is that Virtual Assistant rate looking a bit more appealing now? A Virtual Assistant will only charge for the time they are actually working for your business. That is right, no comfort breaks, cups of tea, personal calls, etc. on your time. And no overheads.
There might be reasons that the time is right for you to take on staff which is exciting for you and the business. If you think you need someone for 40 hours a week then an employee is probably the right option. However, if 40 hours seems a lot or you are worried about keeping your new employee gainfully employed then maybe there is a better option for now.
This article has intentionally focussed on the cost difference of taking on an employee compared to a Virtual Assistant. However, there are many other factors to consider too. I haven’t touched on the flexibility, experience, contacts or self-motivation differences that you might notice between an employee and a Virtual Assistant.
You have realised that a Virtual Assistant will be a great asset to your business, but you are now starting to worry about how things will work from a practical point of view. Lots of “how..?”, “when..?” and “what if..?” questions. But the one that makes you sweat the most is, “what about my passwords?”.
Maybe you have the same password for everything or maybe you have a super-secure system. Either way, you don't want to risk the security of any of your accounts by sharing your passwords. Well, I have some good news for you. Your Virtual Assistant doesn’t want to know your passwords! In fact, saying, “shall I give you my password?” to a Virtual Assistant is likely to send them into a state of panic. Think of it from the Virtual Assistant’s point of view. It is great that you trust your VA and the last thing they want to do is anything that compromises your business (it would compromise their business too). But, what if something does happen? What if your account gets hacked, now or in the future? Understandably you will question anyone that has access to your accounts and your Virtual Assistant does not want to be in that position.
You may already be using a password manager service for your personal accounts and they are great for personal use too. Hopefully, you can now see they are also a simple, safe and effective way to work with a Virtual Assistant.
Every Virtual Assistant will have a different background and story. A different career path where they gained different skills and experience. While the skillset might be slightly different, there are lots of things that Virtual Assistants have in common. We are all super organised. We have to be, we are running our own business alongside helping other business owners run their business. We are self-disciplined and resourceful. We make sure stuff gets done.
Many businesses are seeing the benefits of working with a Virtual Assistant. Maybe you feel scheduling and managing your social media is too time-consuming. Maybe you want to spend time actually with your clients and want someone to manage the booking of appointments. Maybe you need an extra pair of hands to help organise your next in-person or online event.
Having a Virtual Assistant supporting you and your business can be a flexible and cost-effective way of increasing your productivity.
Please click here to see the range of services I could support your business with. And yes, this is me in the picture aged about 3 years old, trying out other careers first!
All social media platforms have great insight tools included to help you measure the performance of your social media profile. They offer a huge range of metrics and data. Actually, they probably offer too much data for most businesses!
For my virtual assistant business, I have picked a handful of metrics on the three social media platforms I use. At the end of each calendar month, I look at the insights within each platform and record data for the metrics I am interested in. I use a simple spreadsheet with a tab for each platform. I find this a simple, but effective way to see what is working and what is not. It helps me to spot things I wouldn't otherwise notice. For example, when I looked at data for my Twitter profile in August, I noticed that my tweets which included hashtags had more 'impressions' than those that did not.
Guess what I will be including in more of my tweets this month? Yep, hashtags! Not only do I know that this is likely to get more impressions for my tweets, it means that I can also look at those tweets that performed well last month and know that the hashtags I used are probably the ones to keep using.
You can make measuring your social media performance very easy and quick. It will then allow you to focus more time on what is working and less time (or better still, no time) on what is not. And if you don’t feel confident or even know where to start with this, let a virtual assistant help. Depending on the platforms you want to use it should take about two hours to set up a process for you to follow. And if you want to outsource this completely, you’d be looking at just one hour a month, each month.